Now the Bucs consultant to the general manager, Arians stepped down from coaching March 2022, and Bowles took over at Arians’ recommendation. Arians’ coaching staff stayed intact with Bowles at the helm, but things didn’t go as planned with an 8-9 record in 2022 and a quick playoff exit, but Arians says he doesn’t regret his decision.
“No, I’ve got all the trust in the world of Todd, and Todd’s got to do what he needs, the way he feels, and his philosophy — It didn’t match this year,” Arians told Outkick 360.
Bowles now faces a new challenge with no Tom Brady at quarterback, assistant coaches to hire, and a massive salary cap problem of $55.7 million over the cap, per Spotrac. Amid the changes so far, Bowles parted ways with Byron Leftwich, who served as offensive coordinator for both Bowles and Arians previously. The Bucs offense plummeted by 11.7 points per game in 2022 despite, which led to Leftwich’s firing.
“Todd wanted to go in a different direction — and it’s his ball club — but I wouldn’t change a thing,” Arians said.
Arians also confirmed will continue serving as a consultant for the Bucs in 2023.
Arians Still Pulls for Leftwich
Arians believes Leftwich still has good things ahead despite last season’s offensive struggles.
“Byron [Leftwich] is going to be a head coach someday. I hope this doesn’t set him back too far because he is a tremendous football coach,” Arians told Outkick 360.
Leftwich most recently talked with Notre Dame according to 247 Sports’ Grace Remington. A former NFL quarterback, Leftwich worked with Arians in Arizona for two seasons, 2016 and 2017, and then joined Arians’ staff with the Bucs in 2019.
Arians knows well it can take a lot of time to rise in the coaching ranks. Arians, 70, didn’t land his first head coaching job until age 60 when he took over as interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2021 due to Chuck Pagano‘s battle with leukemia.
“I don’t know” Arians said about why it took that long to find a head coaching job. Arians added “ask the owners” and noted that he just accepted “it wasn’t in the cards” then.
Brady’s Retirement Didn’t Surprise Arians
Arians said Brady’s retirement on February 1 didn’t surprise him.
“It could have went either way. Neither one of them would have surprised me,” Arians told Outkick 360. “Tom can still sling it, you know, but it was such a tough year personally for him, and I was so proud of the way he battled through this whole thing and never brought it to the field. It was hard on him, but what a great, great human being. Great teammate.”
Arians also talked about having a good relationship with Brady despite prior media reports about the two not seeing eye-to-eye. Arians talked about Brady’s mistakes during press conferences in the 2020 season, and rumors swirled that Brady’s unretirement in 2022 had something to do with Arians stepping down from coaching.
“Probably because I said he threw an interception one time,” Arians said about the rumors. “We have a great relationship. I hope we play golf sometime soon when he gets back.”
“He loves being coached and wants everything to be perfect,” Arians said about Brady. “So, yeah, he doesn’t take anything personal. That’s for sure. It’s easy to coach those types of guys. He’s obviously been through a system [in New England] where that’s the way it was.”